Amazon is not only watching over your shopping, TV viewing, music listening and book reading histories, it’s also listening to you at home, or in the car.
At least that’s how it is in my family, where I have two Amazon Echo speakers – one in the kitchen and another in the garage, plus a car accessory to bring the Alexa personal assistant along with me on drives. I don’t have a lot of smart home devices, but if I did, Amazon would have access to my doorbell and security – who’s coming and going – and more.
Unlike Facebook and Google, which secretly follow you around on your mobile phone and elsewhere to move in more product sells, even if you’re not using their apps, Amazon is rather upfront about the data it collects, even if it’s hidden in several pages of a help menu.
In a nutshell, if you want to make use of the Internet’s most popular shopping destination, you need to feed the beast. You need to let it remember what items you’ve shopped for and know the kinds of products you like.
What you don’t need to do is allow Amazon to hit you with personalized advertisements. Beyond selling commodities, Amazon has also produced a lucrative sideline in selling advertisements to manufacturers who want to reach you while shopping. The company received some $2.7 billion in advertising revenue in the most sales quarter.